Grape Leaf Skeletonizer???
Greetings from Palmdale, California! Located in the blazing Mojave Desert. These moths started appearing in our backyard just after it started getting warm out. I like them very much, but I just wanted to double-check my identification before I post the picture up on my website. Yes, we do have grape plants in our backyard, and a Vineyard not far from us (I know, in the Desert of all places!) Am I right?? Thanks so much!

Hi Abbey,
You are correct but for one small detail. This is a Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer, Harrisina metallica, not the Grapeleaf Skeletonizer, Harrisina americana, which is found in the east.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

St. Lawrence Tiger Moth?
Hi Guys,
We are just east of Ottawa, Ontario and we found this beauty on the brick in the front of our house, in a nice shady spot. It was very friendly and decided to come in the house with us for a quick photo shoot on our kitchen floor. We couldn’t find an exact match on your site for this one, so thought I’d ask for your identification assistance. I am guessing that it is some sort of Tiger Moth, but uncertain of which breed it might be … the closest one I noticed on the site was the St. Lawrence Tiger Moth. I know you are swamped, but when you get the time I’d love your input. PS. Thanks for being such a great help to everyone and for all of the time and patience you extend to others. Thanks in advance! Cheers,
Rhonda M. Frank

Hi Rhonda,
Your beautiful moth is actually a holarctic species, the Great Tiger Moth, Arctia caja, also known as the Garden Tiger Moth in Europe. There are several subspecies in both the new and old world. It is an even more spectacular species than the St. Lawrence Tiger Moth. According to Bugguide, it is: “uncommon to rare in North America; European numbers have been declining in recent years “

Lady Beetle? (Anna, TX)
Location: Anna TX
Hello, and greetings from North Texas,
I seem to have cucumber plants infested with what I am hoping are lady beetles. These are not the usual round little tanks I remember from growing up, but are a bit longer. The cucumber plant is extremely healthy, as are the nearby dill and basil. That is the main reason I’m thinking they are lady beetles. If nothing else, I seem to have a "pink" one. And a really good photo of the red one.
I guess I’m looking for confirmation that these are definitely lady beetles.

Hi Angi,
These are indeed Spotted Lady Beetles, Coleomegilla maculata.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant flower-loving fly Greetings,
First off thank you for your time. I believe this belongs to the genus of giant flower loving flys could you tell me which species and why. Also where would I look to find such info. Thanks Again,
John Ivanov

Hi Daniel,
The picture is from 2 weeks ago in South Western Kern County. Thanks
John Ivanov

Hi again John,
So, it was photographed in California. Thanks for writing back to us with a location. We hope our readership will forgive us for not keeping true to our recent “threat” to place all letters without locations directly into the trash because we recognized this would be an excellent addition to our archives. The genus of Giant Flower Loving Flies that you mention is Apiocera, in the family Apioceridae, and BugGuide only has one mounted specimen in the archives and no real information. Geocities has wonderful images of an Australian species, Apiocera asilica, and the general body shape resembles your specimen, but the coloration is quite different. Wikipedia indicates: “The Apioceridae , or flower-loving flies , are a small (approximately 150 species) family of flies , all in the single genus Apiocera . They occur mostly in dry sandy habitats in the deserts of North America ,South America , and Australia.” and “Apiocerids are found in sandy, arid and semiarid habitats. Hovering over bare patches of ground they can emit a loud hum. Despite the common name, most Apiocera never visit flowers, but rather are found running on the ground near sparse vegetation, or feeding on honeydew beneath aphid -infested plants. They are often seen drinking from damp sand with their sponge-like mouth-parts.” Your specimen appears to have more of a pointed long proboscis similar to the Bee Flies in the family Bombyliidae (well represented on BugGuide but not matching images), and quite different from the images on Geocities. A photo of a mounted specimen of Apiocera haruspex has a striking similarity to the contours of the fly in your photo, especially the terminal portions of the abdomen, but the proboscis is not visible. That is a long and inconclusive response on our part. We will contact Eric Eaton, who currently has computer problems and may not respond quickly, and hope he can provide some insight. Additionally, some reader may have an answer. Since Giant Flower Loving Flies are not common, and a specialist is needed, this may take some time.

Update from Eric Eaton (08/04/2008)
Wow! Most definitely a giant flower-loving fly! What a great find! Male, too, evidenced by the very bulbous tip of the abdomen. Rick Rogers is the expert on these. He is also a singer and all-round entertainer in the Los Angeles area. Sorry I don’t have his e-mail handy to give to you. I’m curious whether this is the famous, endangered Delhi Sands flower-loving fly….

Update: (08/04/2008)
Hello again Daniel (sorry not Eric), I did get a hold of Rick, he thought Raphiomidas undulatus / acton. I just sent him the location and am waiting for a response. It looks like it might be acton but I haven’t keyed it out nor am I really familiar with insects. Cheers,
John Ivanov

this black beauty loves my pond
found yesterday .hopefuully not destructive, stayed around pond for hours landing mostly on recently watered mulch . whaddya think? ive had loads of monarchs lately this was distinctively different so i walked over and snapped . thanks

Hi Kevin,
Your butterfly is a male Spicebush Swallowtail, and he is puddling.

Swallowtail butterflies
Dear Bugman,
I live in Southeast Tennessee, and we’ve had an unusal number of butterflies around the house lately. After days of unsuccessfully trying to photograph them, I finally got one to hold still. . . and then it was joined by another. . . and then a third! It was almost as if they wanted to pose for me. They sat very still and didn’t move, and even though I was walking around them, they seemed totally unconcerned with my presence. I thought you might enjoy the photo of the three of them together. Sincerely,
Amanda McCain

Hi Amanda,
Newly metamorphosed male butterflies from some families, including swallowtails and blues, congregate at mud puddles and other sources of moisture, an event known as a Bachelor Party (since they are all males) and an activity known as Puddling. Dissolved in the moisture are critical salts and minerals needed by the young adult butterflies. Your photo is quite beautiful.